Disney in a Minute

Disney in a Minute: What Does “E-Ticket” Mean?

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We’re here with a series of quick posts, “Disney in a Minute,” bite-sized nuggets of information that can better help you understand a Disney term or planning topic. Enjoy!

When discussing Disney, you may hear someone use the term “e-ticket.” Depending on the context, this term could mean one of three different things.

1. In modern parlance “e-ticket” is likely shorthand for “electronic ticket” (also known as a paperless ticket). If you buy a Disney theme park ticket online, you’ll be issued a code. You can use this code to link the ticket to your My Disney Experience account and thus also to any MagicBands you have associated with your account or to MagicMobile on your phone. If you link the ticket to your account, you may only need an e-ticket to enter the parks.

2. In a nostalgic sense, “e-ticket” might mean a headliner ride. When Disneyland and Walt Disney World first opened, they sold tickets and ticket booklets for individual attractions, much like they do at some smaller local carnivals today. (Note: Disney theme park admission tickets are now an entry pass that allow you experience all the attractions in the park for one all-encompassing price.)

The attractions in the parks were sorted into five categories, A through E. The A tickets were for the more run-of-the-mill attractions and E tickets were for the super headliners (B, C, and D were of intermediate interest). A ticket booklet might include a few of each letter. The roster of E-ticket attractions changed a few times over the years until Disney changed to the one-price model in 1981.

The remnants of my family’s first WDW trip, in 1976. All we had left were a few A-tickets. We used all our headliner E-tickets.

Though the lettered ticket system has now been gone for more than 40 years, Disney fans still refer to the best rides as E-Ticket attractions, such as, “Tron is the Magic Kingdom’s newest e-ticket ride.

3. With a name based on headliner ride concept, E-Ticket is the name of a quarterly magazine that was published from 1986 until 2009. Created by Disneyland fans Jack and Leon Janzen, the magazine included historical studies of Disneyland attractions and interviews with many imagineers and contemporaries of Walt Disney. The magazine is still revered by students of animation and theme parks. Back issues may be purchased through the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco.

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Erin Foster

Erin Foster is an original member of the Walt Disney World Moms Panel (now PlanDisney), a regular contributor to TouringPlans.com, and co-author of The Unofficial Guide to Disney Cruise Line. She's been to WDW, DL, DL Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, Aulani, DVC Vero Beach, and DVC Hilton Head. She's a Platinum DCL cruiser and veteran of 10 Adventures by Disney trips. Erin lives near New York City, where she can often be found indulging in her other obsession - Broadway theater.

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